WordPress: the CMS for 2011 and Beyond

WordPress is commonly known as a leading blogging tool. But what most people don’t know is that it is also a robust content management system (CMS) used by over 13% of the 1,000,000 biggest websites – W3Techs.

In 2009 – 2010, MESH created no fewer than 10 corporate websites using WordPress-and not only by choice. One industry leader in the online video market actually DEMANDED that we use WordPress-kicking off what would end up being a banner year for MESH, and the start of our WordPress customized
 solutions.

WordPress isn’t for everyone. You should only be considering WordPress as a solution if you’re looking for a CMS that’s free, fast and easy to use, easily expandable, and widely supported. If you want to pay a lot for a CMS, want it slow and hard to use, difficult to build upon, and lacks support, WordPress is not for you.

In spite of the sites we’ve created, including a site for YMCA, clients always question whether or not WordPress is right for them. If the knowledge that such heavy hitters as Ebay, Ford, The Wall Street Journal, Sony, Samsung, and Ben & Jerry’s trust it isn’t enough to swing you into the
WordPress camp, then here are a few reasons you should consider before tapping into WordPress’ powerful content management features.

1.) Complete branding.
While WordPress templates are abundant, they… look like templates. That’s no good for businesses serious about their branding. WordPress has powerful features built in to allow you to create customizable pages that look nothing like blogs, and everything like comprehensive, enterprise level websites.

2.) Robust development features built right in.
Support for creating and editing pages, articles, forms and even whole site sections. Site search. Embedded images. Out of the box SEO. And more.

3.) Global support community.
There are thousands of developers around the world that develop for and support WordPress. No more worries that you won’t be able to get your site updated or add that highly custom feature. OR that you’re investing in technology that’s going away anytime soon.

4.) (More) Secure.
Since it was first released in 2003, WordPress has grown up a bit. Admittedly previous versions of WordPress got bad press about security issues. Every version of WordPress that is released is more secure than the previous. To quote Wikipedia, the latest major security issue was found 4 years ago in 2007.

5.) User Friendly Interface.
WordPress is extremely user friendly, offers a simple intuitive interface. Dashboard allows quick access to various levels of your site including media library, forms, plugins and widgets. Content is easy to update through a simple text editor, upload images, edit text, embed links and create new posts.

6.) Search.
WordPress provides great SEO code out of the box to get you on the road to better Google search results. Add a plugin or two, and you can downgrade that pricey “SEO Consultant” and manage your own site.

7.) Marketing.
Widgets really help WordPress shine for marketers. Create custom landing pages with forms, jquery, and customization of page URLs are just the tip of the iceberg. You can  incorporate non-WordPress code in your site. Huh? Easily pull outside data in via RSS feeds and incorporate them into your site-adding value to your site and audience. The Google analytics plugin allows you to easily monitor your on-site traffic.

“Ok, I can see that WordPress can do some cool things, but I need a site that does…”

We get this a lot as well. Here are a few examples of projects created with WordPress:

a) Job Board
b) Discussion Board
c) Complex Scheduling Tool
d) eCommerce Site
e) Streaming Video Subscription Site
f) Portfolio
g) Online Publication

I can go on and on, but as WordPress continues to grow both in features and in support, it will be a tough call to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a custom solution that may not be scalable (not to mention the costly maintenance fees), when such a powerful and robust solution as WordPress is doing the same-if not more-for businesses across the world.